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Monday, February 19 News

Four-day book bonanza starts Saturday at Westport Library

Dozens of volunteers were busy this week preparing for Westport Library's 22nd annual Summer Book Sale, set for a four-day run under several big tents on library grounds starting Saturday.

"We are `good to go,' " said Mimi Greenlee, a volunteer who is organizing the sale. Despite problems with leaky tents earlier in the week due to the stormy weather, everything was "on track" Wednesday, she said.

The volunteers were sorting, pricing and stacking the more than 80,000 items in more than 50 categories that will be sold from Saturday through Tuesday. The majority of the books on sale have been donated to the library, according to Heli Stagg, a volunteer and the library's retail and cafe manager.

This year's book sale is being dedicated to Shirley Land, a volunteer who organized the first book sale in 1993, which took place in one small room of the library, said Dick Lowenstein, book donation coordinator. Land, who also had been president of the Friends of the Library, died July 13.

He said Land started the book sales "so that books could find a second home."

Besides the general public, book dealers and collectors are among the many eagerly waiting for the sale, Lowenstein added.

In fact, Stagg said, several hundred early birds already will be in line when the sale begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Among the special items offered at this year's book sale are volumes signed by chess masters Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov and a four-volume edition of Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" published in Switzerland in 1791.

Lowenstein said the Fischer autograph is a find since Fischer was "stingy with his signature." He also said he got a call from a man who wants "The Wealth of Nations" collection and said "he plans to camp out here Friday night."

There is also a debut issue of Life magazine, dated Nov. 23, 1936, and books on civil-rights topics, some dating back to the Freedom Summer of 1964, from the estate of Westport writer and artist Tracy Sugarman.

But Stagg said many of the books -- which are mostly brand new -- are bargains with some hardcovers selling for as little as $2.

The book sale also includes a range of hardcover and paperback fiction, nonfiction books, vinyl records, DVDs, CDs and audiobooks, a tent for children's books, and book and magazine collections.

Admission to the sale is free.

Sale hours are Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., when everything is half-price, and Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., when items will be "sold" for donations. There will be no early signups or place holding.

For more information, visit www.westportlibrary.org or call 203-291-4800.